Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

Vigil for missing Tennessee girl,15, 'snatched by her former teacher'

Vigil for missing Tennessee girl,15, 'snatched by her former teacher'

The wife of the alleged kidnapper issued a public plea for her husband to return home and bring the teenager back safe. "Tad, this is not you".

"I do ask that if Mr. Cummins if you're listening, that you may bring her back to us so you can mend not only our family but yours as well".

"We pulled into a rest stop, and I saw a silver vehicle and I waited to get a good view just to see. No matter how far you've gone or what is happening right now, God's grace is sufficient for you and he wants you to come home".

Her former teacher, Tad Cummins, 50, is allegedly shown on surveillance footage from a gas station near the restaurant at about 8:30 a.m. filling up his silver Nissan Rogue, the auto in which authorities believe he is traveling in with the teenager.

A friend dropped off the teen Monday at a restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, near the high school, law enforcement authorities said; the restaurant is about 45 miles south of Nashville.

Authorities in Tennessee released surveillance video from a gas station showing the final sighting of the married teacher who filled up his SUV before disappearing with Thomas.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Tad Cummins, 50, had possibly planned the kidnapping on March 13 of Elizabeth, 15, who attends Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, near the Alabama border. Neither has any known connection there. Investigators believe she was carefully groomed and then brainwashed by Cummins into abandoning her family to be with him. Police are trying to evaluate how much cash he may have.

"Having now been on the run for more than five days, Cummins may have taken her, frankly, anywhere", the TBI said Sunday.

The TBI on Friday tweeted pictures of Cummins captured during the past few weeks.

After being suspended, Cummins took to Instagram, posting things like "It was love at first sight" and "Something handsome is on the horizon", leading many to wonder, what happened during those 14 days when Cummins and Thomas were at school together?

Josh DeVine, spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said that authorities have received about 250 tips, from 24 states, none of which have led them to Cummins.

In late January, Cummins was suspended from his teaching position amid allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a student. The sheriff did not specify when the suspension happened. Authorities also believe Cummins is armed with two handguns. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his capture. The incident was reported to the school the next day, he said. I believe it's clear at this point that her removal by him is unlawful.

District Attorney Brent Cooper, who has jurisdiction in this case, weighed in last week to explain what made Elizabeth's alleged kidnapping aggravated.

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